2017 Reds / 2018 Reds

The Case Against Keeping Zack Cozart

NOTE: Yesterday, Jeff Gangloff wrote The Case for Keeping Zack Cozart. Today, we look at the other side.

Nominally, this post is about Zack Cozart. He’s 31, an All-Star, a donkey owner, and sporting a .313/.404/.578 line on the year — he deserves two posts in a week all to himself.

But, the case for letting Zack Cozart leave has nothing to do with Zack Cozart himself and everything to do with Nick Senzel and whether or not the Reds will be competitive in 2018. Spoiler alert: Cozart leaves either way.

First, to quickly put things in perspective, Nick Senzel is hitting .317/.383/.508 in his first full professional season, and he has hit .332/.398/.548 since being promoted to AA. That’s over 493 plate appearances on the year and 292 in AA, so there’s no calling small sample size on the kid.

Assuming Senzel can keep it together over the rest of the season, there’s no reason he shouldn’t get a shot at the Major League roster next spring. If you read that sentence and want to cry “too aggressive promoting,” might I remind you that Mike Leake spent no time in the minors and top prospects jump from AA to the Majors all the time. If Senzel hits in Spring Training, give him the reins.*

*There might be some weird Super 2 and arbitration contract stuff in here that I don’t fully understand that would persuade the Reds to keep Senzel in the minors regardless of ability.

But wait, you might be thinking, even if Senzel is ready, that only fills one spot on the infield (sorry Jose Peraza), wouldn’t the Reds still need Cozart to compete?

So here’s where the Reds competitiveness and as such, the hierarchy of needs, kicks in. Signing an over-30 shortstop who just turned in the best season of his life to a contract extension is foolhardy, full stop. Precedent shows that Cozart’s success is more likely to be a flash in the pan than a sustained late career turnaround. Sinking any sort of money into a crapshoot would not only burn the Reds in 2018, but also probably beyond.

So a one-year qualifying offer sounds like the best of both worlds. Round out the infield in 2018, part ways if it doesn’t go according to plan. Except that qualifying offer would have to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $18 million and the 2018 Reds have much more pressing needs than shortstop to attend to with that money, i.e. starting pitching.

For the Reds to compete in 2018, they need to sign an ace, or at least a pseudo ace, and every dollar is going to count. Because I’ve heard his name bandied around the most, let’s use Yu Darvish.

With his injury history, Darvish will come at a discount but drastically inflating starting pitcher salaries will probably mitigate much of that. He’ll be looking to grab as long of a contract as possible, so the Reds will really have to be willing to shell out for at least four years to lock him up. Assuming the contract is backloaded as most are these days, the Reds could probably get Darvish for $15 million in 2018 (what the Cubs gave Jon Lester before his age 31 season). That would scale gradually up to around $23 million in 2022.

Adding Darvish and letting Cozart walk leaves the Reds’ Opening Day looking somewhat like this:

  • Devin Mesoraco C
  • Joey Votto 1B
  • Peraza/Scooter Gennett 2B
  • Senzel SS (or 3B)
  • Eugenio Suarez 3B (or SS)
  • Billy Hamilton CF
  • Adam Duvall LF
  • Scott Schebler (or Jesse Winker) RF
  • Darvish, Luis Castillo, Homer Bailey – Top 3 of rotation
  • Some combination of Sal Romano, Tyler Mahle, Brandon Finnegan, Amir Garrett or Cody Reed
  • Bullpen — Raisel Iglesias, Michael Lorenzen, Ariel Hernandez, Wandy Peralta, et. al.

Nothing about that roster particularly screams contender. Definitionally, it’s high risk, high reward. Cozart still isn’t the answer.

Extending Cozart a qualifying offer just to be a stop gap for one year before the Reds do whatever they do to try to compete in 2019 is just a waste of money and unfair to Cozy.

Yesterday, Jeff Gangloff agreed with me on this, writing “With the Reds most likely not being all that competitive next year in 2018, what good is one extra year of Cozart’s services for such a hefty price tag? Keeping him on the team is all about having his stability at shortstop and in the lineup when the next window to win opens. The qualifying offer doesn’t guarantee this.”

However, I’d like to take it a step further — Zack Cozart deserves a long term contract. He deserves to make more next year than he has his whole career, and then he deserves to make that again the following year. He doesn’t deserve the uncertainty of having to play out of his mind another season to prove he has earned those wages. And, as mentioned earlier, a long-term contract on the Reds’ end is foolhardy because it just hamstrings the Reds’ front office ability to work with their payroll. The instant he signs, Zack Cozart is dead weight already playing at his ceiling and guaranteed to decline quickly. The Reds just don’t have the wiggle room to pay Zack what he’s worth.

Also, on a less financial note and back to my original point, Nick Senzel should be on the Reds’ Major League roster and keeping Zack Cozart denies him that spot. Sure you can make the argument that Senzel should “develop” a bit more, but I’m more inclined to let him learn on the Major League pitching he should be facing the rest of his career.

The Reds have so many questions over the next couple years and Zack Cozart is the answer to exactly none of them. We know his ceiling and we know his price tag and the two don’t come together all that nicely for a team like the Reds.

We’ve loved having you Zack. You put the Reds’ revolving door at shortstop on hold for a bit. But the future is coming and money is tight and you already got a donkey you can ride off into the sunset. Don’t make this harder than it has to be.

65 thoughts on “The Case Against Keeping Zack Cozart

  1. Agree. I wish Zack the best and hope he continues his success but it is not worth the risk. I can see this becoming a Brandon Phillips 2.0 situation in 2019/2020 if they give him a 3 year deal

  2. As much as I like cozart, we can’t afford to keep him. Not only is the risk high for signing a +30 shortstop for 10+ million a year sheer folly, it slows down the development of whoever is going to replace him. I don’t think he would become a “Brandon Phillips” contract – he doesn’t have BP’s bitter hate of the F O (that I’ve heard of). But, we must say goodbye to Cozart as his mule. As for a Darvish type free agent signing, I don’t believe a top free agent pitcher would sign here, even if we could make the highest offer (unlikely). No top starter is going to sign with, at best, a fringe contender.

  3. It’s a gamble, but will Cozart’s production over the next 3 years be worth $50m more than say, Peraza’s? I sure hope not. Invest that money for pitching and accelerate this rebuild!

  4. I don’t say this because I disagree with your premise (I’m actually undecided), but Zack’s turnaround is, by many accounts, the result of a Votto-influenced change in approach, so precedent isn’t necessarily the last word. Senzel needs a prolonged chance, no question, before 2018 is over, and he certainly looks promising and he is nevertheless an unknown quantity. He (or Suarez) might also play 2nd, so Zack isn’t necessarily blocking him. A contract for a 31 year-old shortstop is a risk. So is a contract for any starting pitcher, since you can nearly assume that if they currently lack an injury history, they will acquire one soon. The Reds still need starting pitchers, though, so the risk must be borne. But perhaps it could be borne for Zack, as well. A little devil’s advocacy.

    • I’m skeptical of the “sudden” Votto influence, as he played along side JV for a FULL 5 seasons prior to this one.

      • He completely changed his batting stance this year, which some/many are attributing to Votto. That’s why some don’t believe this is just a flash in the pan uptick in hitting performance.

        • Zack himself said during spring training he saw what a couple of Blue Jays or perhaps Indians were doing, relaxing the bat on their shoulder, before engaging with hitting. Credit observing Bautista or Encarnacion.

      • Reasonable point. Don’t have the numbers in front of me but his improvement is multifactorial and there have been some trends in the last 2-3 years to suggest his rise, it’s just that injuries have obscured them.

        To the OP – what if Cozart tests market, loves Cincy, not enough cash out there for him and he takes a 3 year/$24 million deal? Something like 6/8/10. You wouldn’t take a GG shortstop with a .978 OPS for 8mill/yr?

  5. Agree with it all. If the Reds were serious about the playoffs next year then a big “yes”. Otherwise they are paying a lot of money to go down a few slots in the draft.

    Play to win or play to draft well(win)

  6. Mlb traderumors lists 10 hitters set for big first-time arbitration salaries. Eugenio Suarez is on the list….with Kris Bryant and Mookie Betts and Jake lamb..etc., the trend has been to buy out young stars arbitration years and first few years of FA.
    Will myers SD 6 years ~80 million last season
    Jean Segura 5 years 70 million
    Ender Enciarte 5 years 30 million.

    The reds need to spend money on the future and Suarez is cornerstone. I would let cozart go…take that 30 million and whatever else is needed and sign him to a 5 year extension.

  7. Forget Peraza AND Herrera. They’ll be nothing but bench players (if that!). Me personally, I say sign Cozart to a 2/3-yr deal. It’s like this for me…stick with what we know instead of what we don’t. What do we know? That Cozart’s having the best offensive season of his career and I believe he can maintain this for the next 2 or 3 yrs. This would give the reds a chance to hopefully draft a top SS prospect (which they should do in the next draft…assuming such a player is available). I personally like the sound of an infield of Votto, Cozart, Saurez (2B/3B) & Senzel (3B/2B). As far as Gennett goes…I like him (so far). He’s having the best offensive season of HIS career as well. But I do have to wonder if he’s as capable as Cozart is of being able to maintain this level of offensive production. So maybe platoon him at 2nd or 3rd wherever Senzel may wind up until we know if Scooter is capable of maintaining his offense that he’s showing this year. If Scooter and Cozart do maintain their levels of offensive production Then hopefully the SS market opens up so we can trade Cozy for some value.

    • Although I lean toward letting Cozart go, I question whether in the future Gennett will come close to what he has done this year. If Suarez is open to trying SS again I would go in that direction with Senzel at 3B and Peraza/Scooter at 2B.

    • “stick with what we know” is what you said
      What we know is that Peraza and Herrera are both 23 years old. We know that Cozart turned 23 while playing for the Reds AA team in 2009.
      We know that Cozart had 3 seasons (2012-2014) where he was great defensively and poor offensively. We know that he has improved on offense the last 3 seasons (2015-2017) but has spent considerable time on the DL.
      We also know that over the next 3 seasons (the length of contract most are suggesting for Cozart) Zack will be much more expensive than either Peraza or Herrera.
      We don’t know if Peraza will get on base enough or if Herrera will stay healthy and hit. We also don’t know if Cozart will be able to stay off the DL or if his new offensive production will continue over the next few seasons. We are making educated guesses on all of these questions. I personally would gamble on the two inexpensive 23-year olds with upside rather than the 32 year old with an injury history coming off his career season.

    • This — Mr. sandman — is it. Take any team playing in October and I don’t care how young they are. For every Kris Bryant there’s a Dexter Fowler. Hendricks/Lester and Lackey, etc etc. Building a team that is good for 10 years and is not the same as having the same good team for 10 years. Players come and go, but you obtain WAR at discount prices whenever you can. If Cozarts love for the team/city, or the market, gives us a chance to buy $40 million worth of WAR for half price. We take it and laugh all the way to the bank!!!

      • I should submit I forgot to write that I agree with your thought pattern, just disagree with your conclusion.

  8. Wesley,

    While I agree with your conclusion, there are several specious/loose thoughts you use to develop it:

    -Highly unlikely Darvish accepts $15M in 2018, or takes a back-ended deal. No need to.
    Injury history or not, he is considered at the top of this fall’s free agent starting pitching class. 11Ks/per 9 innings for his career is a rare thing.

    At 3 WAR, which he is already near, that is $27M (or so) in market value salary for next year. Jon Lester and David Price did not have to take back-ended deals, as recent examples, neither should Darvish.

    Try 4 years/$120M from the Reds to even get a call back from Darvish’s agent.

    -Comparing Leake’s call-up to Senzel’s? Apples and oranges. Senzel is a cornerstone of the “The Next Good Reds Team (TM)”. Let him fully ripen below, and when he comes to Cincy, it’s with the expectation he stays for good. Whenever that may be.

    -Cozart “deserves a long term contract” but will be “dead weight” the instant he signs.
    Ok, which MLB GM should be silly enough to sign him long term?

    Cozart wanted to be a free agent after this season, gambling on a big payday. He might get it, but it’s fuzzy to see which team actually will offer it.

    He “deserves” only whatever the free agent market offers him.

    • Cozart fits much better with a team that is competitive now that can afford some extra payroll and could potentially use him as a DH later on in his contract. He can still be valuable to the right team, he just does not present much value to the Reds going forward.

    • If Cozart would take a “reasonable” 1yr contract for next year, that may be one scenario where it makes sense for Reds to sign Cozart. It all depends how quick they want to call up Senzel and how patient they are with Peraza. If they take it slow with Senzel, then Cozart still has room (Suarez, Cozy, Peraza/Scooter). If Senzel does play next year, then there could still be room for Cozart (Suarez, Cozy, Senzel). However, that’s when patience with Peraza is the key question.

      If Peraza is still seen by the Reds as the future (or Herrera for that matter) at SS or 2B, then Cozart can not come back. Peraza plays SS while Suarez/Senzel play 2B/3B. If the Reds bring Cozart back – especially on a long term contract – then it shows a lack of faith in Peraza as anything more than bench depth. And there is not really many answers besides Peraza or Herrera at the moment in the minors, so Cozart would probably be SS long-term, not just one year.

      It is actually not too hard to envision a Reds infield with Senzel, Cozart and Suarez. The question of keeping Cozart or not comes down to whether Peraza should receive bulk of playing time at SS. Personally, I like how Peraza has been adjusting his hitting lately and would like to see him continue to develop at SS. Cozart also is probably better off with a different/contending team.

  9. If the QO were cheaper, it would be a nice compromise for the Reds and also has chance of getting a draft pick. However, Senzel is coming into the picture and Cozart would create a giant logjam. Even if the Reds wanted to wait and see if Senzel was ready for the majors, Cozart would not take a one year contract besides the costly QO.

    It seems Cozart leaving as a FA would benefit both Cozart and the Reds. Between Suarez, Scooter, Peraza, Herrera and Senzel, the Reds should be able to put together a solid infield without Cozart and cheaper/less risk. And Cozart is better off with a team that can use him long term and/or pay him more.

  10. Let’s see if the Old Cossack has this correct. Signing Cozart (age 32) for ~$30MM for 3 years, his age 33, 34 & 35 seasons, is too risky because Cozart is an aging SS with a history of injury, but signing Yu Darvish (age 31) for ~120MM for 6 years, his age 32-37 seasons, is acceptable risk for an aging SP with a history of injury.

    I’m still riding the fence on signing Cozart to an acceptable extension, but signing a FA pitcher at market value to a Bailey contract extension and that was a legitimate, market-value extension. There is no question that the Reds’ biggest need, by far, is a quality starting pitcher, but a long-term, market value FA contract for a starting pitcher is not the answer in this or any other universe where small market teams are saddled with built in financial inequity due to market size.

    • …but signing a FA pitcher at market value to a [huge bucks, long-term contract is sheer folly. The Reds are still reeling from the] Bailey contract extension…

    • Shchi,

      I am quite surprised you are equating starting pitching (the most valuable commodity in major league baseball in 2017) with shortstop (the position with possibly the most young, cost controlled talent of any in 2017).

      And, I don’t know where the 6 year contract came from. He might get all those years from a large market team, but as we have seen with Homer Bailey, 6 years can be a long time for a small market club.

      Considering park factors, Darvish having to hit for himself, Reds not contending, Bryan Price (?), who knows what else, 30M per year feels like a minimum opening bid for the Reds to get into the running.

    • To me Cozart is far less of a risk than a starting pitcher. Look at the money it cost San Fran for Cueto and he has not lived up to expectations and as we have seen with Bailey TJ surgery quickly makes a contract “bad”. Like you I don’t know if an extension is a good move or not, but if the price is reasonable it answers the SS question for the next few years. A Votto, Gennet, Cozart, Suarez infield with Senzel knocking on the door a AAA is a good problem to have at the trade deadline in 2018

  11. Good analysis. Who is the answer at Shortstop in 2019 and on? Peraza = No, Blandino = Not likely, Suarez was previously a defensive liability at Short (range isn’t likely acceptable even if he lowers his error totals), I’m all for trying senzel at short, but the organization doesn’t appear to agree, Vincej = Paul janish, Rodriquez = struggling to hit A ball pitching. Bring on Jeter Downs in 2021.

    I still lean to signing cozart (if he will to a 3 year deal), we can trade him mid way through if that’s seems best. The biggest concern is injury.

    I do think it is a very fair to compare signing Darvish to Cozart. I lean again to cozart because we have a huge glut of starting pitchers that still need to be sorted.

    If the target for winning is 2019, this makes signing Cozart still a decent option.

    • Has anybody seen anything written about Senzel that makes them think he is a legitimate option at SS? I haven’t. 3B or 2B yes, SS no.

      • I have not seen anything stating he could play SS, other than he played some games there in college. I think he ends up at 2B or 3B depending on what happens with Suarez.

  12. Yu Darvish would never come to Cincinnati especially at a discount. He will get $30-35 million a year. No way he settles for $15 million in 2018.

  13. One of the last that made this team relevant a few year ago.He deserves a big contract and I hope he gets it somewhere else.Thanks Cozy and good luck.

  14. Though I can understand either way keeping Cozart or letting him go, I would have to be one on the side to let him go. Mainly, I would hate the fact that we don’t get anything for him. However, on the other hand, Cozart seems to be injury prone, in my opinion. Also, Cozart would cost the Reds a lot of money for an extension. And, Cozart probably won’t be on the team again before the Reds are a winner again. Mainly, we already have a lot of middle infield young studs who can play there, already. We don’t need to keep one around.

    This decision would be one just like with Cueto, with Leake, with Chapman, with BP, and others, I don’t know of many who would like to see Cozart go (including me). However, it is probably a move needing to be done.

    • What are the real arguments that we need Cozart?

      Senzel needs more time in the minors. Says who? That’s the same rationale that had Arroyo > Castillo or Renteria > Cozart back when Zack came up. This kid is ready to roll, like Suarez did, and whatever growing pains he has are more quickly solved by facing big boy pitching!

      Cozart needs to be resigned because Scooter is playing over his head. Well….so is Cozart for that matter plus Scooter is younger/healthier/cheaper! LIke I said before…if it was just Peraza or Zack then I’d pay Cozart but Suarez can play short. Another thing that I think is being slightly overlooked is Alex Blandino! He’s having a nice year (.390 obp at Lville) and will be 25 this year. I think he’s a better hitter then Peraza will be and he could get a chance to platoon with Scooter if they let Cozart walk.

      • Indy: Cozart may not be playing over his head because he has changed his approach. Maybe Scooter has found his inner hitter and is not playing over his head, either. But Scooter is not a good fielder and doesn’t play shortstop, so it isn’t necessarily a choice between him and Zack.

  15. Peraza has been ridiculously good since the All Star Break. He still has no power, but he’s suddenly figured out how to walk and get on base, good for a .377 OBP(!). I don’t expect him to keep that up for another month, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Peraza will finish with a .360+OBP for the second half.

    If that’s who’s he is going forward, I would be more than happy for him to become the Reds’ leadoff hitter of the future. His lack of power won’t matter much as long as he’s getting on base, and he has some speed which is always a plus at the top of the lineup.

    If Senzel is close to being ready, there is no room for someone like Cozart on the team. Suarez, Peraza, and Senzel all need to play. They are the future. There’s no point in giving valuable at-bats to a SS who is in the twilight of his career when the team is not expected to be competitive. Let the kids play and get good so when 2019 rolls around, the Reds are ready to compete.

    My preferred solution is to see if Suarez can apply his newfound defensive prowess at his old position of SS and keep Peraza at 2B while Senzel mans 3B.

    I know it’s extremely premature, but just imagine this lineup:

    2B Peraza .360 OBP
    SS Suarez .370 OBP
    1B Votto ∞ OBP
    3B Senzel .370 OBP (rounding down as he adjusts to MLB)
    RF Winker .380 OBP
    LF Duvall .315 OBP
    CF Schebler .319 OBP
    C Barnhart .320 OBP

    If this new Peraza is for real, and Winker and Senzel can keep getting on base at the MLB level, this lineup could do some serious, serious damage. And they are all mostly young and still growing, so who knows how good they could be.

    Sorry, Zack, if you stay, you’re just delaying the youth movement. For the good of the team, and for the good of your career, thank you and happy trails.

    • Scooter anyone? I can’t Peraza ever being a better offensive player then Scooter vs righties….not to mention Peraza occasionally can’t even catch a line drive. I think Scooter is slightly better defensively then he gets credit for. He’s very good on relay throws!

      • You may see something in Scooter defensively that I don’t INDY. I have been more than a little disappointed in physical and mental mistakes he’s made including one on Sunday not throwing home when they had a shot at the runner.

      • Scooter is the quintessential Utility player. He can hit and he can play anywhere. This newfound power is a pleasant surprise, and someone like Scooter can still get 400 ABs a season when used properly to spell injured/tired players throughout the season.

        Scooter is also 27 while Peraza is 23. Let’s wait and see what Peraza develops into. Meanwhile, I would be more than happy if Scooter became a Ben Zobrist Lite for the Reds. He could be a very important piece of the next championship puzzle.

        • He’s not getting 400 atbats if they keep Cozart? Senzel and Suarez are going to play. That leaves Scooter without a position and doesn’t really give Peraza or Blandino a chance to develop either?

    • Everybody you listed has done it except Peraza and I could live with league average for him.A line up that gets on base and has power what a great idea.Its feasible.

      • Peraza has been putting up a .377 OBP since the All Star Break. He’s already walked 12 times as opposed to 5 times for the entire first half. That’s why I said I want to wait and see if this “new” Peraza is here to stay, but if he keeps going like this to October, I’ll be sold.

        We don’t yet know if Senzel can replicate his minors numbers at the MLB level, but there are much worse bets you could make. Same goes for Winker. That’s why I said the lineup is “extremely premature”, but if you squint through your rose colored glasses, you can see the makings of a very formidable offense on our Cincinnati Reds.

    • That lineup will certainly be fearsome as long as the Reds’ pitchers are so good that few balls are put in play against them, except, perhaps, to left field.

  16. I would rather trade for a starter and sign a reliable bullpen arm. Headline the deal with Schebler. Our bullpen is a little overrated as they are struggling recently. Besides Peralta and Iggy, who’s getting the job done?

    • Bullpen arms are a dime a dozen. They could easily be filled with some cheap FA signings in the offseason. You don’t trade starting position players for bullpen arms. You just don’t.

  17. I personally would do my best to keep Cozart, but my best would be a 3 year 40 mil contract at the most. Then again, I don’t believe Peraza is worth his weight, and Suarez would be better suited at 2nd base than SS. He has to play one of them, because Senzel isn’t, nor should he, play a middle infield position. I believe Cozart is having a legitimate season that will continue, because I believe his production is due to a Votto-Like approach, which has led to him being #1 or #2, last time I checked, in pitches seen/AB. By the way, Suarez has used the same approach, and most of us believe he will continue to improve. Having said all that, I would not spend a DOLLAR over 40 mil, or would I add another year. To not explore anything though, is just crazy in my opinion.

  18. Long term contracts are 50-50. Over the last 4 years Votto & Phillips (even though the Reds are paying 13 million
    for him to play for the Braves) were good, Bailey 15-15 & Mesaroco 18 RBI haven’t been.

  19. Scott Feldman had knee surgery and is out for the rest of the season. That certainly means he’ll go to the 60-day DL and that will take the 40-man roster down to 38 now.
    Let’s see what happens here now.

  20. A lot of decisions to be made? The only thing I think everyone can agree on is that they need pitching from outside the organization. Price said it himself and maybe DW too? I can’t see Price saying that without getting it cleared first?

    I don’t see the need to pay Cozart but it depends on their evaluation of the other guys? Where do they see Scooter next year or down the road? Its not like he’s an old guy. I could be guilty of selling Peraza short because he’s young and has talent! He could be a Martin Prado type (10 yr career…lifetime .291 hitter) but I think the other guys are a little better and have more power in the “Chicks Dig the Long Ball II” era. Schebler? Winker? I’m on WInker>Schebler and both of them over Billy. It will be interesting?

    • Do they really need pitching though? Right now you have Castillo, Bailey, Disco and probably Finnegan as locks to start next year. Then you have

      Romano
      Stephenson
      Reed
      Garrett
      Mahle
      Lorenzen
      Davis

      to fight over the last spot. With Stephenson and Romano looking a bit better it seems like the Reds might even have too much pitching come next year.

      • That is why I wouldn’t be overpaying for a pitcher in the off season. We still have no clue what a healthy rotation would look like or if that is even possible. In my opinion there are too many questions to expect to compete next year. Disco and Bailey returning to form along with Finnegan completely changes this team. If none of them can perform at previous levels then sign someone for 19.

  21. I just don’t see the market for Cozart’s services going very high. There appears to be a glut of shortstops & ss prospects. Zack’s injury prone history will inevitably make him a bargain FA. I seriously doubt the Reds can spend their money any wiser than to sign Cozart for 3 years plus an option. To sign a FA starting pitcher this offseason, will take $50-60M more than it takes to sign Cozart- just to get the same level of player. You’ll still face about the same risk of injury, you’ll just be a lot deeper into you’re pockets to sign a good sp.

    • That’s the thing…the free agents pitchers stink? Darvish isn’t in their price range and that’s a good thing. Alex Cobb is on the DL now, and already has 2 TJs if I’m not mistaken? Lance Lynn is pretty good but will cost a ton and could eat Todd Coffey (food) himself out of the league in a few years. THey need to find someone decent and dependable that’s cost controlled and if it costs them then so be it. That’s what prospects are for! They won’t all pan out anyway!

    • I sincerely hope not. I think he could be a very important “Super Sub” on the next competitive Reds team.

    • Well they said the same thing on here about Duvall…from the beginning of last season thru about May when they gave up and acknowledged he was pretty good. I won’t vouch for Scooter (and Schebler) like that because they’ve got long swings that can be pretty streaky. He’s a Cincy kid though…and brings some fire to the Reds. They can’t trade Scooter?

  22. We have to find out if the light has gone on with Peraza. He needs to play out the string. Armed with that knowledge, we can pursue an alternatives (Cozart for <$25mil and the condition he plays 2b/3b sometimes or Suarez in a position switch). Any money saved should be invested in locking up Suarez and Barnhart.

    I would offer up to 4 prospects outside our top 5 to acquire a cost controlled starting pitcher (i.e. Long/Siri/Santillan/LaValley). We finally have the inventory to get it done and these player are going to be blocked moving forward, so we might as well leverage them to accelerate the rebuild.

    Where I think everyone is whistling past the graveyard is CF. Hamilton is merely a nice bench piece on a good team and we need the depth, but he's going to get expensive (despite the nominal hit to the already low payroll). If the Reds acquire the SP they need and feel they're ready for prime time, then you look at an upgrade here with a Lorenzo Cain or Carlos Gomez.

    • Taylor Trammell might be the answer there. He’s only 19, but he’s done nothing but hit, get on base, and run for his two seasons in the minors. Steve spoke very highly of him from this last ST, maybe he really bursts onto the scene in a year or two.

  23. Why not let Cozart feel out free agency? If it gets into January and February with him still available, offer him a one year deal straight up or a one year deal with a team option. Hold onto him for another year and have the ability to flip him at the deadline if he is still playing well. Doesn’t mortgage the future and SS doesn’t turn into a black hole if Peraza regresses back to pre all-star break numbers.

  24. Cozart for reds in 2018 depends entirely on what powers that be think reds pitching will be, from inside or outside. If pitching acceptable, they need cozart. Peraza is not close to playing a major league level starting shortstop in the field.
    The interesting joker is Suarez. But if all goes well with him, it will probably take a year, until 2019, for him to acclimatize. I reluctantly have come to accept the concept of a mediocre defensive but mashing infield.
    So cozart, who I really like, should go unless reds pitching in 2018 is projected far better.

  25. While I am leaning against signing Cozart to a multiple year deal, I am strongly against the Reds risking bigger bucks on a pitcher like Darvish. Sure, if he stays healthy, he will win some games for them. But they still won’t be a contender. The Reds aren’t ready yet to add a big contract pitcher. That’s more of a move for a team close to contending.

    They need to find a low cost Straily or Feldman type who can eat some innings and possibly work themselves into trade bait or hang around as the back end of the rotation when others start to click and the team improves.

  26. I’d like to see them package Senzel for a young controllable starter, like a Michael Fulmer. Signing a FA just doesn’t work for sn’t small market teams. Too risky.

    Then take the Brandon Phillips money and go after an Alex Cobb.

    That gives you Fulmer, Castillo, Cobb, Bailey, and Romero/Garrett.

    If Disco comes back, he fits in great. If not, you have Mahle and Stephens for depth.

    I’d move Finnegan, Stephenson, and Reed to the bullpen where there lack of command isn’t as critical and you can match them up.

  27. If I can’t flip Cozart by the end of the month I let him walk at years end. Suarez is my SS beginning next year with Senzel the 3rd basemen when he is ready. Herrera, Peraza and Gennett fight It out for 2nd. Whoever is left makes up the ML bench. Peraza can play SS,CF and 2nd, Gennett Plays 3rd,2nd and both corner outfield spots.

    Rotation looks like

    Bailey
    Disco
    Castilo
    Finnegan
    Stephenson

    with lots of options if hey do not perform.

    If we are in contention for Wild card at deadline I put together a package of prospects for a pitcher or bull pen help.

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